Marine debris takes many forms, including litter, derelict fishing gear and abandoned recreational equipment. Countless consumer items make their way into our Gulf waters each season, creating trash in our marinas, waterways and estuaries as well as on our beaches.
The consequences of marine debris are many, including:
Wildlife injury, illness, and death
Vessel damage and loss
Marine debris can impact a large variety of marine life, from small microorganisms to the largest of whales. Animals may inadvertently eat debris or become entangled in it. Plastic bags, for example, are a common threat to our endangered sea turtles, which often mistake them for a common food item —jellyfish.
Take action against marine debris:
Bring your own reusable cups and water bottles. Disposable drink containers can easily end up as marine debris
Avoid products with excess packaging. Reducing the amount of packaging and plastics reduces the potential for marine debris!
Bring in your own reusable bag to the beach and on board your boat to reduce use of paper and plastic bags.
Keep our beaches clean! Get involved in the annual Coastal Cleanup in September.
Use an ashtray! Cigarette butts are a leading source of marine and beach debris. Help keep them out of our beautiful gulf waters. – Even cigarette butts discarded in parking lots and along sidewalks miles from the coast inevitably make their way down stream to the beach and waters.
Photo Credit: Ocean Conservancy